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The birthday cake was back in 2007.
The cake was fashioned after a 1962 vibroplex key I purchased at a
JARS (Joliet Amateur Radio Society) meeting when I was 15 years old.
A few years back I gave the key to my son Chip for his 36th birthday.

My first license was issued in April 1973 at the age of 15.
Initially my Uncle Ben Mehlhorn, W8MCL (sk) helped me learn morse code during a visit in Dayton, Ohio.
Ben was a dyed in wool RL Drake man. TR4CW and later in life a TR7 / DR7. I bought my first station from Ben, a Hallicrafter SX-28 and Heathkit DX-60 plus a hand full of crystals. Still have those crystals today. I really miss qso's with Ben on 40 and 80 meters back in the 80's. Hard to believe Ben and my Dad have both been gone more than 20 years now. All of that knowledge, gone...

Great thanks go to my friend Paul Christensen W9AC. Paul and I met at about age 12 or 13 while we were both growing up in Joliet, IL and I hate to admit it but we met on cb radio. Paul already had a novice license at that time, (WN9JCG) Paul was eager to help me get a license as well. Paul sent a lot of code to me on his touchtone telephone in order to help me get my code speed up. I taught Morse Code to my wife, son and daughter on a J38 key Paul had given to me in 1971 or early 1972. Made my first contact on a Johnson Viking 2 at Paul's house.
During this timeline I met Jim Clark WA9YRV (most recently KW9X sk) at a meat locker in Plainfield where my dad was fortunately purchasing a half beef as was Jim.
Jim gave the novice test to me in the fall of 1972. I took the 5wpm code test from a 45rpm record that Jim had on hand. Made my first 3rd Party qso on Jim's Drake TR4. I remember that day vividly, that cool blue glow of the TR4. My life changed forever on that day.

It's funny how life events work.
I feel fortuate to have had these people and this hobby positively inflence the way I have conducted my life for the past 40+ years.

My previous callsigns were WN9MGD, WD9AIJ and KO9U.

I am blessed with an entire family of licensed hams, all general class, with *9IO* callsigns.
xyl Cindy N9IOQ, daughter Crystal W9IOU and son John "Chip" K9IOC.
Crystal's husband Rodney has joined in the family fun now, his callsign is K9UNO.

Please visit our family web site, appropriately named "THE I/O PORT"
located at http://www.qsl.net/n9io/
Some day I may actually get around to bring those I/O Port pages up to date.

My favorite activities are DXing, Contesting and Fox Hunting,
in particular, ARRL November Sweepstakes and contribute to the club
competition score of the Society of Midwest Contesters (SMC) http://www.w9smc.com

Also got involved with APRS in 2008.
I programmed the APRS super digis W9AZ-1 in Bourbonnais,
W9AZ-2 University Park near Gov St University
and AD9L-1 in Watseka.
The SCHOSP Wide1-1 fill-in digi at Silver Cross Hospital
located in New Lenox, IL and my home I-Gate fill-in digi
N9IO in western Kankakee county.
All were done using the New n-N Paradigm set forth by WB4APR.

Currently HF gear is a FLEX 6300, ACOM 1000 amp, IC-746 I use on 2m ssb, IC-775dsp,
FT-857d, FT-100d and TM-D700A Kenwood mobile for 2/440/aprs.
An Array Solutions Six-Pak antenna switch and an MFJ-989b tuner.
TA-33 at 55 ft, 1.5 wave dipole for 12m at 55 ft, 160 Inv-L, Double Bazooka on 80 at 50 ft.
HF2V vertical with above ground radials for use on 40 and 80. Also an aluminum 17m dipole
anda 40m dipole both at 35 feet.
Receive antennas so far are a EWE pointed north and a bi-directional delta pennant for E/W,
KD9SV RX preamp, a 1962 vibrokeyer replaced the 1962 vibroplex and my software choice
is Writelog for contest and DX logging. Using CW Skimmer now with the Flex, very nice!

I am a proud member of the ARRL - American Radio Relay League, http://www.arrl.org/
I authored the current ARRL Central Division Web Site but do not maintain it any longer.
Visit the ARRL Central Div Web at http://www.central.arrl.org/
Please support the ARRL by joining today.

Joined the SMC - Society of Midwest Contesters in 2000, http://www.w9smc.com/ GO SMC!!!

Member of KARS - Kankakee Area Radio Society - http://www.w9az.com/
I have been Web Master of the KARS web site since 1997 and
serve on the board of directors and as Fox Hunt Coordinator.

KARS holds it's Annual Hamfest known as KARSFEST in July.

KARSFEST 2015 is on July 19th.
We can use and appreciate your support. http://www.w9az.com/karsfest.html

Best 73' Clay N9IO

I upload my logs to ARRL's Logbook of the World, Only.

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